For many years now I have continually maintained a list of software that I recommend should be used on every computer.
Note: This list is managed for the Microsoft Windows XP operating system, if you are aware of a cross platform alternative, please feel free to make a suggestion.
The Swiss Army
A short list of applications that even the Swiss army would be proud of, so much so I even keep them stored on my USB Swiss army knife flash drive. Don’t leave home without them!
- AntiVirus: avast! 4 Home Edition – install (free)
- System Information: CPU-Z - standalone (free)
- Task Manager: Process Explorer - standalone (free)
- Startup Management: StartupCPL – standalone (free) or Autoruns – standalone (free)
- Malware removal: HiJackThis - standalone or install (free)
- Memory Checking: memtest – boot time (free)
- File System Analysis: TreeSize – standalone (free) or TreeSize Pro – install (not free)
- SSH Client: PuTTY Tray -standalone (free)
- Hard Drive Monitoring: HDTune – install (free)
- Firewall: Kerio Personal Firewall 2.1.5 – install (free)
- Password Recovery: Cain – install (free)
- Packet Sniffer: Wireshark – install (free)
- Portscan: nmap – install (free)
- Virtual Drive: PowerISO – install or MagicDisc – install (free)
- File (Un)Compression: Squeez (free) or WinRAR (almost free)
- Remote Desktop: RealVNC – install (free)
I use these applications on a day-to-day basis, and usually go out of my way to install them for other people, usually if I discover they are using a rival application which is asking them to pay.
- Web Browser : Mozilla Firefox (free)
- VoIP: Express Talk
- Messenger: Pidgin (free)
- CD Burning: ImgBurn (free) or burnatonce (free) or CD BurningXP Pro (free)
- Peer-to-Peer File Sharing (Gnutella): LimeWire (free)
- Peer-to-Peer File Sharing (ed2k): eMule (free)
- BitTorrent Client: uTorrent (free)
- Media Player: Winamp (free)
- Video Player: VLC (free)
- DVD Player: Intervideo DVD
- Media Conversion: SUPER (free)
- Webcam: WebcamXP
- Screen Capture: Snagit
- Password Storage: Safesex (free)
- IRC Client: mIRC
At The Office
This list is software that I find myself and others using in their office environment.
- Word Processor, Spreadsheets, Presentations: Open Office (free) or Microsoft Office
- Accountancy: Sage
- OCR: ABBYY FineReader
- Faxing: FaxTalk
The Web Developer
Tools that I use as a web developer to get the job done.
- Graphics: Photoshop 7.0.1
- FTP Client: Filezilla FTP Client (free)
- SCP Client: WinSCP (free)
- Text Editor: EditPlus
- Icon Editor: Microangelo Studio
- Diff: WinMerge (free)
- Font Management: FontHit (free)
- SVN Tool: TortoiseSVN (free)
- Web Server: XAMPP (free)
- Colour Picker: Color Cop (free)
The DJ list
Finally, I have a short list of audio tools I’ve used in the past for various tasks, perhaps I would use them more if I had more spare time.
- Audio Editing: AudaCity (free) or Adobe Audition
- Audio CD to MP3: CDex (free)
- Cue Splitter: Medieval CUE Splitter
- Mp3 Renamer: The GodFather (free)
- Music Sequencer: Ableton Live or flstudio
- Mixing: Atomix MP3
Want to know why I chose a certain piece of software over it’s competitor? Or perhaps you have a suggestion? Just let me know by leaving a comment below.